As part of his working visit to the Slovak Republic, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy held a meeting with President of the country Zuzana Čaputová.
The head of the Ukrainian state thanked his Slovak counterpart for the support and professional and extremely friendly and warm relations.
"Today, we work for the interests of our people, and we thank all the people in Slovakia for their support. I am grateful to everyone here, in beautiful Bratislava, and in other cities and communities of Slovakia, where Ukrainians were sheltered. To people, volunteers, public organizations – absolutely everyone. We appreciate it," Zelenskyy said at a meeting with media representatives following the negotiations with Čaputová in Bratislava.
He emphasized that Ukraine will always appreciate and remember the solidarity of Slovakia's society and leaders.
"Your state and your people can always count on Ukrainian support, on our Ukrainian strength," the President of Ukraine said.
The head of the Ukrainian state said that cooperation between Ukraine and Slovakia has reached such a level that it strengthens both countries in the field of security and international affairs.
"Now, of course, the first priority is security, protection of our common values, which make Europe Europe. In this terrible criminal war, which Russia has unleashed against our state, our people, against life, not only our fate, but also the fate of everyone who lives freely, is being decided. And we will not give our freedom to the enemy, and this means that your borders, your cities, your people will never again be threatened by any invaders," the President of Ukraine said.
According to him, during the negotiations, the leaders of the two states discussed in detail defense and foreign policy cooperation and specific projects in these areas.
"We had a good one-on-one meeting with Zuzana. And a very meaningful meeting of our delegations. Ukraine and Slovakia are definitely stronger today," Zelenskyy said.
The President expressed gratitude for the defense support that Slovakia provided to our country during the months of the full-scale war.
"Before, a contract to manufacture 16 Zuzana-2 self-propelled howitzers was signed. Of course, we also work for other joint production: the production of rounds, guns... That is, these are steps forward, and this means more security and more jobs," the Ukrainian Head of State said.
Zelenskyy thanked the Slovak side for its willingness to help Ukraine with humanitarian demining.
"We are ready to buy appropriate Slovak equipment – we are interested in this – and create new production facilities to make such equipment for demining. Together, Ukraine and Slovakia can become donors of global protection of people against the global mine threat," the President said.
He also declared his readiness to develop transport links with Slovakia, make existing routes more active, and create additional opportunities for citizens of both countries.
"In particular, this concerns the direction of Košice, we talked about it today. We also touched on the issues of transit of goods across the border: our countries are interested in all issues between us being resolved in the interests of our peoples," Zelenskyy said.
The leaders also discussed joint opportunities within the European Union and joint work in the EU institutions. Zelenskyy thanked Slovakia for its principled support of Ukraine in its European and Euro-Atlantic integration.
"Separately, I want to emphasize my gratitude for Slovakia's help in our defense against Russian terror with missiles and drones. Slovakia provided us with extremely needed air defense systems and aircraft. And I am grateful to you for every life saved in Ukraine thanks to these air defense systems and aircraft. Please know: Slovakia is really helping to bring peace closer," the President of Ukraine said.
Welcoming Zelenskyy in Bratislava, Čaputová said that Ukraine, as a victim of unprovoked aggression by Russia, has the right to defend itself and receive support from European countries.
She reminded tomorrow is the 500th day since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine.
"These are 500 days of Ukrainian invincibility. The days that showed that big powers cannot always dictate their will to smaller ones. And those who lead a fair defense can succeed. And we believe that you will achieve it," the President of Slovakia said.
Čaputová declared her support for peace initiatives that lead to a just end to the war and the establishment of peace while preserving Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
"We support your Peace Formula, which is a promising solution for ending Russian aggression," she said.
The President of Slovakia noted the united Ukrainian people, which is not only determined to defeat the aggressor but also aims to rebuild the country after the war. According to her, Slovak companies are also ready to join the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine.
In addition, as Čaputová said, cooperation between the two countries in the defense area is expanding. In particular, a contract for the supply of 16 Zuzana-2 howitzers to Ukraine soon was signed. Joint development of a new type of howitzers will also begin.
"Joint production of ammunition will begin. Also, our enterprises will help demining the territory of Ukraine," she said.
According to the President of Slovakia, her country is deepening cooperation with Ukraine as a future perspective member of the European Union.
Čaputová also declared her support for our country's NATO membership.